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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 24 August 2014
My Life Next Door is a sweet, sweet, realistic, romantic and wonderful journey. I read it in two short days, and it was just what I needed. Sam and Jace had the most amazing chemistry, and I love that even though it is a young adult book Huntley Fitzpatrick is not afraid to tell the story as she wanted to. A lot of young adult writers seem to be unsure about stepping over a line when it comes to sexuality and going to the core of what the characters mean to each other, and this woman did it just right. Her writing style is funny and spontaneous, just as it is touching and fits just right to this kind of story. She told the story as raw and beautifully as it was meant to, and she did it well.

“Then we are just kissing and everything else drops away. Mr. Garret could come out at any moment, a truck full of supplies could drive right on up, a fleet of alien spaceships could darken the sky, I’m not sure I’d notice.”

What I really found myself loving in My Life Next Door, was Jase and Sam’s relationship. Sam is not some damsel in distress and Jase is in no way an overprotective badboy. I bet we’re all getting kind of tired of that scenario, to be honest. They both have an equal role in the relationship, and Jase, as the male in this, is not the one who dominates or makes all the decisions. This makes them so real. The fact that they start of as friends, and slowly, slowly fall in love, but still have that hint of a romantic connection, makes it all believable. Another thing is that Jase blushes! Haha, yes. Just as Sam, and any other teenager, he gets embarrased over his family, intimacy and stuff. It was the most wondeful thing to read, and he still manages to come off as somewhat masculine. I truly loved it!

“The Garretts were my bedtime story, long before I ever thought I’d be part of the story myself.”

There are lots of characters in this book, and by that I mean quite a bit. Like, it’s not an overwhelming amount, but enough to make me go back and memorize the names of Jase’s siblings. I did in fact do that, and they are a bunch of adorable children. Alice is hilarious, Andy is so sweet, George… I want that kid, and all the other kids I can’t take my time to talk so much about now. I could really relate to their family and situation, as I also have quite the family myself. Samantha’s friends Nan and her brother Tim were also great characters, and I like how Jase and Sam kind of take care of Tim and include him, even though he can be a bit of douche sometimes. There were some characters I didn’t like (Sam’s mom and her boyfriend), but that’s OK.

“Who are these people, and why do they think their own opinions are the only right ones?”

I think it’s great that the story is not only about romance, but also about friendship and family. It’s about having the gut to stand up for what you believe and the people you love. It’s about telling the truth, even though you might hurt someone, when you know it is the right thing to do. I did enjoy this book, very much. However, I had some issues with the decisions Sam made at the end, which is why I’m only giving it 4 stars on goodreads. And I know people are not always going to do what I would have done, even when they’re fictional, but I found it slightly annoying.

“When I turn back to Jase, he’s again beaming at me. “You’re nice.” He sounds pleased, as if he hadn’t expected this aspect of my personality.”

My Life Next Door is such a true, awkward and honest representation of what it is to fall in love, real love, for the first time. I felt it was a breath of fresh air among a lot of young adult contemporaries that all take the same turn. I recommend it to any young adult from the age of 14 and up, who enjoyes a romance did right, with some humor and the right amount of dramatic events.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 8 May 2014
Originally posted at [...]

I'm quickly falling completely and hopelessly in love with Contemporary Romance. Or Contemporary Fiction as a whole. And it's all thanks to novels such as Eleanor and Park and My Life Next Door. Both books, that have taken up my spare time where I could be doing something productive. Isn't reading productive? I saw this book a lot of Booktube. Something I'm something of an avid watcher, fangirl, stalker. But it took me ages to buy it, and then when I did, it sat on my shelves for weeks,waiting in line for me to finish with my (very long) TBR list.

My Life Next Door Next Door is a summer romance with depth. It centers around the protagonist Samantha who used to sit on her roof and watch the large, raucous family the Garretts and (subconsciously) maybe wish that she was a part of it all. Samantha is from a well off family that consists of her Mum Grace and her sister Tracy. Whereas Jase is from a family than can struggle for money, yet they are so full of fun and love that it doesn't matter. Samantha feels slightly stifled by her prim and proper mother, who seems to dislike the Garrets and wishes that she were part of a family like that.

Then Jase comes along and gives her a taste of what it's like to be free and happy and wild. she falls in love with Jase's massive family, just as much as she falls in love with Jase himself (and honestly, who can blame her?)

But her happy bubble is burst when she "witnesses" something she wishes she didn't. She becomes torn by doing what is right, which will inadvertently affect her mother, or what is wrong, which will come to affect Samantha herself. This story gives a taste of what it's like to be young. To be stifled under your parents law. As this story develops, Sam slowly learns the true meaning of love, family, life and that she should always, always stick up for herself when people aim to bring her down.

So here's a breakdown of everything I loved about this book in a neat little list.

1. Jase and Samantha's relationship is adorable.
2. It's family focussed. It really highlights the good sides of a good family!
3. It has depth while still being hopelessly adorable.
4. The little conflict. I know that a story needs some conflict, but this story. God it just worked, okay?

And I'm being cliche here. But this gave me such a feeling of happiness reading this. It was like this big, wobbling bubble right in my chest. It was almost as if I myself had fallen in love. And in a way, I have, I've fallen in love with a book. And no matter how many times I read this, whether it's twice or ten times. I will always read it with the same fond smile that I did the first time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 8 August 2015
Though very similar to When Summer Ends I find this novel to be much more focused, realistic, and with better characters. 17-year-old Samantha Reed lives with her wealthy but cold and unfeeling single mother living a strict life of order and keeping up appearances. Her older sister cannot wait to be free and takes off for the summer, leaving Sam alone in the house. The Garrett's next door are the polar opposites - warm, loving, chaotic, but homely. The Reeds have been disconnected from them as soon as they moved in, but one night Jase Garrett climbs up to Sam's window and makes friends. They soon become lovers and their juxtaposing words will collide with dramatic consequences.

There's not actual plot to MLND rather than a series of threads that carry the narrative. Some of them are not resolved and the ending feels like a bit of a cop-out, like Huntley Fitzpatrick didn't have the moxie to attempt something more expansive and daring. However this is very easy reading for the YA crowd and is never once boring. If you are looking for a summer romance read for at the beach or with your ice tea in the back yard or whatever then this will fit your requirement.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
My Life Next Door is one of my favourite contemporary's that I've read so far this summer and is a strong debut novel. I loved that this book instead of focusing on just one topic tackles lots of little ones the ones that pretty much every girl goes through as she grows up. My Life Next Door was a bundle of bittersweet learning curves all mixed in to one long hot summer.

Samantha is a heroine with a lot going on. Despite coming from a wealthy family with a mom working in politics, Samantha doesn't take money for granted and is juggling several jobs this summer all whilst trying to support a friend with alcohol and drug addictions, her best friend whose growing increasingly more distant, and no one being around at home lately with her older sister making plans for the summer with her boyfriend and her single mother spending more and more time at work. During those first few lonely summer evenings Samantha watches from her roof her next door neighbours the Garrett family a noisy, messy and affectionate brood of eight ranging from all different ages and personalities, and their parents Mr and Mrs Garrett who are still very much in love. Samantha longs to be one of them as they are so different to her own family, and then one evening Jase Garrett climbs up to join her on her rooftop perch and through their budding summer romance introduces her to his charming if chaotic world.

The Garrett family completely stole the show in this book. Every single one of them has a distinct personality that's different from their siblings and like Samantha I felt welcomed into their home and quickly became part of the family. The Garrett's are the complete opposite to Samantha's family, the house is lived in and although their not wealthy in money they are wealthy in love and I think that's why Samantha's initially so drawn to them. I loved the different personalities and closeness to this vibrant family and especially loved little George who is pretty much the cutest kid ever!

Jase and Samantha have the sweetest summer romance, the kind that every girl dreams of having, and I adored them both as characters. Samantha's a really kind, generous, hardworking, girl who despite her privileged upbringing isn't afraid of getting her hands dirty and is always willing to help others out and would much rather have her mom around more than the materialistic things that her mother's job means they can afford. Jase was the ultimate boy next door sweet, kind, affectionate nothing is ever too much trouble for him and the way he respected and helped his parents and would be so loving and playful with his younger siblings really melted my heart. Jase is perfect first boyfriend material and his and Samantha's relationship was such an accurate take on first love.

I absolutely loved everything about this book and think that if you love summer contemporary's My Life Next Door needs to be on your reading pile this summer. Because this book covers a range of topics there's something to offer everyone, it has the sweetest romance, loveable characters and the timeless moral of standing up for yourself even if it means standing against someone you love. I couldn't get enough of the Garrett's and this gorgeous summer romance and you won't be able to either!
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on 20 November 2015
This eBook was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

My Life Next Door is the debut novel by American author Huntley Fitzpatrick. Its characters and romantic connotations make it perfect for the average female, young adult reader. Seventeen-year-old Samantha Reed comes from a totally different family to that for the Garrets living next door. With her single parent mother – the state senator – being able to provide private school for her two daughters, Samantha’s experiences are a complete contrast to the eight messy children the other side of the fence. Banned from ever talking to them, Samantha is surprised when Jase Garret takes an interest in her. Soon a beautiful relationship develops, but one that must be kept secret.

Samantha falls in love with both Jase and the rest of his unconventional family, learning that living with her mother’s strict routines is not a necessity in life. Samantha’s life seems perfect, however there is trouble brewing in the background. Her mother has become involved with a suspicious man, and Samantha’s best friend is having trouble with her brother. But when a tragic event occurs, Samantha questions whether it is possible for her and Jase to remain together.

Samantha is a lovely character who, although may appear to have a perfect life, is not snobbish or selfish. Many of the other characters are likable too, particularly Jase’s adorable younger brother George, who says the sweetest things. These elements and more are bound to put a smile on your face.

Needless to say there is the foreboding feeling that something will go wrong, but the book starts off so positively that readers are certain it will have a happy ending. My Life Next Door will not make you cry or tear you apart emotionally, however it will provide you with the chance to relax and enjoy the story.

Some people may argue that this book is nothing special, but that depends on what they are expecting to experience when reading. It may be true that we do not become emotionally invested with the main characters, but it provides the means to temporarily escape from the trials of our own lives, which, essentially makes and book a success.
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on 16 November 2015
In the over saturated YA romance genre My Life Next Door stood out for its well rounded and fleshed out characters and the rich intertwining story lines.

If you've got as far as reading the reviews I'm sure you've read the blurb and as it pretty accurately sums up the main points without giving away any spoilers I won't bore you with a re-hash of the plot. The main focus of the novel is on the developing relationship between Samantha Reed and her next door neighbor Jase Garret. Coming from completely different backgrounds Jase and Samantha are alike personality wise as both are driven, focused, mature and capable of introspection in a way not all seventeen year old's are. The romance between them is slow burning and develops over time and although those hormones get the better of them and there is a focus on the physical aspect of their relationship the bond between them is a pretty accurate portrayal of the intensity and insecurity of first love.

Unlike other books in this genre the relationship between the two of them doesn't eclipse their every day lives. Like most seventeen year old's they still have familial obligations and input and both are answerable to their parents. There's quite a lot of parent and sibling involvement as they hang out at each others houses and become entwined in each others lives. I feel this is often absent from YA romance novels, particularly if the protagonists are meant to be mature. I tend to find that the parents are mainly absent from the story and this is normally portrayed as been because they "trust" them. In this novel Samantha has a complicated relationship with her largely absent senator mother who she is still accountable to, and Jase's parents rope Samantha into babysitting and offer Jase cringe worthy (but sensible) advice on sex. It was nice to see a novel that shows teenagers that although they may think they are adults at 16/17 parents still have an active role in their lives.

A lot of Samantha and Jase's personality and the dynamic of their relationship was shown and developed by things going on around them. Samantha has been friends with siblings Nan and Tim nearly all her life. Tim is having an on going battle with drink and drugs and Nan is an academic perfectionist who places herself under an enormous amount of stress to perform well. The way Jase and Samantha cope with the issues that these characters bring into their lives really shows what they are made of. The way they interact with Jase's many siblings also gives them chance to develop and show a more fun side to their personalities.

As well as portraying parents as been part of their lives, Samantha's mother also gets a massive chunk of story line herself. The novel examines the mother/daughter relationship throughout but Samantha's mother is also falling in love at the same time as her daughter. Her mother loses herself in her boyfriend with disastrous consequences for both families and the fall-out from her mother's mistakes make for plenty of drama. Fortunately Huntley Fitzpatrick is able to maintain the drama without it becoming melodramatic.

With romance, strong characters, and a good plot which touched on teenage issues of substance abuse, sex, academic pressure, class and moral dilemmas this is an engrossing, moreish read which straddles the YA/Adult readership divide nicely. As the book closed I just wanted to keep on reading, partly because the loping easy style had sucked me in, partly because I was so invested in the lives I'd been reading about and partly because just so many things could have been expanded. Although there is a conclusion to the book I just wanted more. There were a lot of things which could have been explored. This is the main reason I didn't bump this up to 5 star. However, I was delighted to find out that there is a sequel novel and I'm rushing off to find a copy now.....
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This to me, was a story of misconceptions, more so because Samantha's mother, a Senator, a person who supposedly acts on behalf of the people, ironically knows nothing about the people.

The Garrett's have moved next door and OK they were larger than the average family (there's the mum the dad and eight kids). Samantha's mother is appalled at the unkepmt appearance of the Garretts, in so much as the garden is untended, the mother openly breast feeds on the front step and the younger children run around virtually naked.

This YA book, was by no means an easy one to read. The sheer number of Garretts, took some time to absorb, but then throw in a few more characters, which I felt could have been characterised a lot clearer and it took some time to actually work out who was who. In addition to this, the book is clearly aimed for a US audience because much of the terminology wasn't something I, as a Brit, was particularly familiar with and in today's market of eBooks and the fact these books have become available worldwide, I do feel that the author could possibly be isolating a potential market.

There were some grammatical errors which also meant often having to refer back, to work out what was actually meant.

This book is ultimately about two people who meet i.e. Samantha Reed and Jase Garrett, and the obstacles that get in their way i.e. Samantha's over opinionated mother. I felt on occasion there were too many distractions from the actual romance itself, because quite frankly I loved Samantha and Jase and the basic story itself was awesome. I loved Tim, he was perfectly imperfect which made him stand out from so many of the other characters.

There are some parts or the story which I felt were what I can only describe as 'brushed under the carpet' and this, for me, gives the book an unfinished feel.

Maybe I have been overly critical in my review, especially considering I've given it 4 stars, but for me there is such a huge potential for this book to be amazing and quite possibly a 5 star read.
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on 30 March 2014
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A lot of people complained because the problem doesn't arise until quite late into the book, however I rather liked that cos even though I love Sarah Dessen books, I'm not that big a fan of the whole get together/really close and basically together, big fight about things they've left unresolved then get together in the last few pages again, so you never really know how their relationship is going to pan out other than the fact that they're staying together in their own little forever.

With this book, we got to see Sam and Jase's relationship quite honestly, he's easygoing, she's easygoing around him and she's perfectly fine with the contained chaos that is his family. I liked that Jase and Sam never really had the big fight scene I was dreading, although the break up was bad enough for me.

So the main relationship is an A+ for me. The main characters are pretty good, perhaps an A-. The supporting characters are also an A+, they may not be there for long but they're very fleshed with the exception of one character whom i always forget but I suppose that's more my fault than his.

You've probably seen people discussing Tim and Nan and I have to agree with them, for me Tim wasn't that much of a pleasant surprise just because Sam had previously said that he and her used to be very close so it was just pleasant for me to see their relationship go back to how it was, and probably even better seeing as how his best friends are her and Jase. I was slightly disappointed at Nan if only in terms of women liking other women being a bit of an issue at play here, but otherwise she was a well thought out character and sadly things like that do happen.
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on 5 September 2013
For more reviews made of awesome visit Little Birdie Books: [...]

What Occurs:

The Garretts are everything the Reeds aren't. They're loud, they're messy and they're affectionate. Samantha Reed watches them from her rooftop perch, mesmerised by their lives, wishing she could be one of them. And then Jase Garrett climbs up beside her and begins it all.

As the two fall fiercely for each other, stumbling through the awkwardness and awesomeness of first love, Samantha finally feels embraced by a family - even if it's not her own. But then something unthinkable happens and the bottom drops out of her world. Suddenly Samantha's faced with an impossible decision: choose between the family she's always known or the one that feels like home.

My Thoughts:

One of my favourite things about this book was how fantastically well-written the protagonist was. Samantha is smart, mature, considerate and stood up for what she believed in, instead of blindly following her mother or her friends. I found it so refreshing to read about a selfless, intelligent and kind girl who makes up for her mistakes and wants nothing more than to make those around her happy.

The same cannot be said for Samantha's best friend Nan, who I could not stand. Samantha's family is rich, yes, but she still works for a living, tries hard at school and helps Nan's brother out of some pretty bad stuff. But Nan plays the typical, jealous you have everything wah, wah, card. And ain't nobody got time for that!

Fortunately, I was able to ignore Nan whenever she appeared and focus on the whole host of AWESOME secondary characters, like Nan's brother Tim and Jase's brother George, who was beyond cute. He's four and can watch the Discovery Channel until the cow's come home and so begins most of his sentences with "did you know ...?"

As for Jase and Samantha's relationship; it was adorable and exactly how first love should be: sweet, surprising, awkward, clumsy and fantastic. They shopped for condoms together for heaven's sake! Which makes me love Huntley Fitzpatrick because SAFE SEX, YOU GUYS!

Also, Jase is exactly the kind of guy you'd bring home to mum (although Samantha doesn't because HER MOTHER IS TERRIBLE). Throughout the book Jase is smart, funny, unwaveringly patient, considerate, affectionate and a fantastic older brother to his siblings. I couldn't blame Samantha for falling for him because, heck, I did too.

Huntley Fitzpatrick is Dessen-esque in her ability to create fantastic characters who are down-to-earth and realistic. Her descriptions are poetic and well-thought out, her dialogue engaging and witty and her story captivating. She did a fantastic job of creating a world that pulled me in head first.

That being said, I feel like I was lulled into a false sense of security with this book. I was under the impression it'd be a nice, safe read with no earth-shattering drama. And for 90% of the book it was. There was some conflict, sure, but nothing super intense until BAM right near the end this huge thing came out of left field and left me speechless.

I won't go into detail about it because, to quote River Song, "spoilers", but I will say this: Samantha's mum is pretty much awful throughout, but after that thing happened she jumped up the scale and made me want to shake my fist in the air and yell "SCOUNDREL" really loud (not that I'm dramatic or anything). Thankfully, things worked out in the end and I finished the book with a smile, which is something I haven't been able to do in a lot of the books I've been reading lately!

All in all this début really is a great summer read with surprising depth and poignancy. It also happened to have some of the most well-fleshed out, funny and honest characters I've had the joy to read. For me, Huntley Fitzpatrick's next novel can't come soon enough!

Favourite quote: 'Maybe if I can just sleep for a hundred years, I'll wake up in a better story.'

Overall rating: 4/5 little birdies
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on 29 August 2013
First things first, this is a summer book so I probably would of liked it more if I actually read it in the summer rather than the winter. It made me feel sad that its freezing cold in the UK and so far away from "summer' thats if we actually get a proper one this year but I highly doubt that we will. Oh well a girl can dream! When I heard about this book I felt like I must read it right away as contemporary YA books are my weak spot, I love them so much.

The synopsis doesn't give much away other than the fact it will have a bit of romance in it, I really enjoyed the plot of this book as it was well thought and it definitely had a lot of charm to it. I love the Garrett family, they may seem like the dreaded neighbours from hell with a lot of kids but you really do end up liking them as you get to know each individual member of the family. Their personalities are all so different from each others but I think thats what makes the family work, especially as they come together during distressing times and help one and other through it. I wasn't too keen on Samantha's family however, her mum was a definite snob so it was painful to read about her and her judgemental ways- not cool Miss Reed!. We didn't get to know Samantha's sister that much which was a shame as she didn't seem to bad when she was actually in the book. What was with Clay as well, Clay is the politics crazy boyfriend of Samantha's mother. I don't like the way he treated Sam, blackmailing her and making her feel guilty because she knew something that could potentially ruin her mum but if she kept it quiet it would also ruin other peoples lives!

Although the romance in this book was cute I was hoping to get more from it? there was definitely chemistry between Samantha and Jase but I was secretly hoping that she would end up with Tim! Ah Tim the screwed up older brother of Samantha's best friend Nan. I wasn't mad about Nan either as I felt that she gave Samantha a hard time about petty things, I don't like petty people at all. I think that Tim and Samantha might have been an interesting match and I would've loved to read about them.

All in all it was an enjoyable read with a wonderful bunch of characters that I definitely wont be forgetting anytime soon! a perfect debut novel from Huntley Fitzpatrick, I look forward to reading more of her stuff in the future. I recommend that you read this book in the summer though as it is a perfect read for a lazy session in the sun.
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